International Teen Blogger: Early Coins and Significance today

Prior to formal currency introduced in about 600 BC, shells, bartering, and other methods of payments were how goods were exchanged. Throughout history, the coins discovered from different time periods have told us about the ruling king or queen at the time, what metals were deemed valuable or abundant, the advancements in metalworking, and much more. The first coins were made out of electrum, an alloy of gold and silver, in Lydia and around the Anatolian peninsula. Because of the varying ratios of gold to silver causing confusion about the value of electrum coins, silver coins were introduced around 570 BC. Along with their a more measurable value, silver also made the coins more durable.

The introduction of silver coins allowed for the currencies we know of today to be created. It was 760 when the first silver pennies became a part of British currency. There was little variety in the design of these silver pennies. The impressions were various angles of King Offa’s face, and printed around the coin was “Offa Rex”, which translates simply into King Offa. He also had his wife’s face printed on a variety of coins. The impression of a woman’s face on currency was rare for both the time period and the production of coins until a much later time.

The history of the silver coin provides an example of how a coin can be used to popularize a king or person of power through printing his face into everyone’s hands and how a particular design can reinforce nationality. For example, the separation of the British pound from the euro provided a strong sense of unity for the people of the UK. In America, the face of George Washington and the eagle add to our feelings of nationality.

All in all, from the first known circulated coin, we have been allowed more than just ease of monetary travel, but an empty canvas for honoring an important person, promoting the power of a country, or creating a feeling of unity and nationality among each person holding a piece of currency.

A coin is a piece of art and can tell you so much about where and when it was produced. Thank you very much for reading!

Ale, 16, ITC

Ah, sources:

http://blog.coinsupplyplanet.com/essay-from-a-world-away-preserving-history-is-a-passion-but-why/

http://www.livescience.com/2058-profound-history-coins.html

http://www.municipalcoins.com/coinhistory.html

http://www.tamworthherald.co.uk/King-Offa-s-penny-gift-posterity/story-18586912-detail/story.html

http://www.currencyinformation.org/History-of-the-British-Pound.htm

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